Archive for October, 2012

For M

Rose from garden

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

Rose from garden

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

–John Boyle O’Reilly, “A White Rose”

Rose from garden

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I do believe this is my first veridiction (my made-up name for the process of verifying predictions) having to do with a death.

In May of 2012, Dan Rather – he of CBS News fame – ran a story citing “a highly respected source” that said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would be dead in two months.

Fast forward five months and in October of this year, Chavez won re-election.

Just so you know, Chavez was alive when he won.

Courage, Mr. Rather. It’s not like a “highly respected source” hasn’t led you astray before.

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The calendar marches on and with the start of October, the end of fiscal year (FY2012) arrived.

With that milestone on the calendar reached, the federal government announced that it ran a deficit in FY2012 of about $1.1 trillion.

For those of you who like your numbers written out in digits that would $1,100,000,000,000.

There are organizations and people who have the responsibility of attempting to predict what the deficit will be. I have written about budget predictions before (see here and here and here).

The overriding theme from those posts is that people and groups who make predictions about the budget are wrong.

This veridiction (my made-up name for the process of verifying predictions) posting is about predictions made about the FY2012 deficit.

Back in January 2003, The Washington Post ran a story about how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) updated its projections from August 2002. Here is the graphic from that story…

Budget projections from 2003

Apologies for the pencil markings on the bottom

As you can see, the August 2002 estimate from CBO showed the federal government running a surplus at the end of FY2012 of $522 billion. The January 2003 revision cut the projected surplus to $451 billion. Those surplus numbers are a far cry from the actual deficit of $1.1 trillion.

In fact, if you can make out my pencil scrawlings at the bottom of the graphic, the CBO did not correctly predict the deficit or surplus for any fiscal year between 2002 and 2012.

Not to be dissuaded from their continued track record of failure, the CBO jumped on the prediction horse again and again. Five years later, the Post had another story about budget predictions. In this graphic, the CBO prediction competes for space with a prediction made by the Bush Administration.

Budget projections from 2007

Apologies for the misalignment

As in 2003, this 2007 prediction is off by a country mile.

The CBO predicted that the federal government would run a deficit of $146 billion at the end of FY2012 while the administration of the 43rd President signaled a surplus of $61 billion. Again, numbers that are far removed from the actual of $1.1T.

I’m not sure why people continue to make predictions about the budget because they – for the most part – are wrong. Not just wrong, but completely and fantastically wrong.

However, with the start of FY2013, I’m sure the CBO and the current administration will try again and gaze into their cracked crystal budgetary ball.

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The Free Ride Ends

My days of a flaneur officially ended on Monday.

I am now employed and no longer have all the free time that being jobless afforded me. So now, instead of surfing and reading the Web, randomly creating subjects to create columns about, and posting my witty insights about life, family, and whatever else entered my head, I am back to the grind of singing for my supper – to borrow a phrase.


I may be able to steal enough time from my schedule (it’s always a full plate when one is learning a new job, position, office, etc.) to post every once in a while (especially the photo challenges on Friday) but I will be off my slightly-regular schedule every other two days.

It’s been fun, but I guess it’s time to earn my keep in the Mannski Family.

As a parting gift, allow me offer you a pair of Cavlands, which is my made-up name for drawings of objects that are comprised of the letters that make up that object. I have twice posted other samples of this art form and you can find them here and here.

Saturn and Candy Cane

Letters as objects of art

End Note
: Since I am bowing out, the field of veridiction is now wide open for the folks over at PunditTracker.

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